What is Simple Past Tense?
The simple past tense is sometimes called the preterite tense. It is used to talk about actions that happened at a specific time in the past. We can use several tenses to talk about the past, but the simple past tense is the one we use most often.
There are two types of past tense verbs:
Regular verbs: add “ed” to the simple form -Achieved
Irregular verbs: don’t add “ed” – began
How do we make the simple past tense?
This page will explain the rules for forming the simple past tense sentences. Again we want to remember the general structure of English sentences before we start. In this way, you can easily understand .
First, let us see the of simple past tense.
- 1. Affirmative (Positive) Sentence
|Subject||Verb||Rest of the sentence|
|I, We, You, They, He, She, It||Past||Rest of the sentence.|
- 2. Negative Sentence
|Subject||Auxiliary + Not||Verb||Rest of the sentence|
|I, We, You, They, He, She, It||did not||Present||Rest of the sentence.|
- 3. Yes/No type Question
|Auxiliary||Subject||Verb||Rest of the sentence?|
|Did||I, We, You, They, He, She, It||Present||Rest of the sentence?|
- 4.Information Question?
|QW||Auxiliary||Subject||Verb||Rest of the sentence?|
|QW||did||I, We, You, They, He, She, It||Present||Rest of the sentence?|
- Verb – past
Auxiliary verb – Did
I, We, You, They, He, She, It – Did
- QW – Question Word
1. Affirmative (Positive) Sentences
|Subject||Verb (Past Tense)||Rest of the sentence
|I||worked||on my website yesterday.
|You||learned||English at home.|
|We||saw||a movie yesterday.|
- For positive sentences, we do not normally use the auxiliary.
- Simple Past Form of the verb is used after the subject.
2. Negative Sentences
|Subject||Auxiliary + Not||Verb (Present Tense)||Rest of the sentence
|I||did not||work||on my website yesterday.|
|You||did not||learn||English at home.|
|We||did not||see||a movie yesterday.|
|He||did not||eat||breakfast earlier.|
|She||did not||arrive||on time.|
|They||did not||visit||the beach.|
Auxiliary verb (did not) “didn’t” and simple form of the verb is used.
I, We , You, They, He, She, It – Did
Please note that past form of the verb is only used affirmative (positive) sentences.
3. Yes/No type Question
|Auxiliary||Subject||Verb (Present Tense)||Rest of the sentence?
|Did||I||work||on my website yesterday?|
|Did||you||learn||English at home?|
|Did||we||see||a movie yesterday?|
- The Auxiliary verb Did is used in the beginning of the sentences.
- I, We , You, They, He, She, It – Did
- The verb is used in its simple form. It ends with question mark (?).
4. Information Questions
||Rest of the sentence?
|When||did||I||work||on my website?|
Question words are used in the beginning of the sentences.
I, We , You, They, He, She, It - Did
The verb is used in its simple form. It ends with question mark (?).
When should we use the simple past tense?
Use 1 Completed Action in the Past
Use the Simple Past to express the idea that an action started and finished at a specific time in the past.
I saw a movie yesterday.
Did you have dinner last night?
When did the train leave?
Tom lived in India
Use 2 Duration in Past
The Simple Past can be used with a duration which starts and stops in the past. Duration is a longer action often indicated by expressions such as: for two years, for five minutes, all day, all year, etc.
I lived in India for two years.
He studied English for five years.
We talked on the phone for thirty minutes.